- Saguaro National Park to Redington Road
- 24.6 miles
Southern Access Point: Saguaro National Park
- NOTE: This trailhead is not directly accessible by vehicles. The nearest vehicle access is 2.8 miles west on the Hope Camp Trail at the Loma Alta Trailhead at 32.13294° N, 110.68700° W. There is limited parking with trailer parking 0.25 miles south.
- GPS Coordinates: 32.12964° N, 110.64472° W
Hope Camp: No vehicle access; 3 miles required to reach the Hope Camp TH. On Old Spanish Trail, travel approximately 7 miles southeast of the Saguaro National Park Visitor Center, or go 4 miles northwest of Colossal Cave Mountain Park on Old Spanish Trail, then turn north on Camino Loma Alta Road. Go about 2.5 miles until it ends at a small trailhead/parking area. Travel 3 miles east on Hope Camp Trail to historic Hope Camp.
Northern Access Point: Redington Road
- GPS Coordinates: 32.30630° N, 110.57428° W
From Tucson, head east on Tanque Verde Road, which becomes Redington Pass Road after you leave the city. The road turns to dirt near mile marker 3. From that point, continue to just past mile marker 12 on Redington Pass Road. At the top of a small ridge the AZT crosses Redington Road. There are AZT signs on both sides of the road.
Trail Route Description
Passage 9 enters Saguaro National Park and climbs into the Rincon Mountains. This section features a challenging climb with extreme changes in elevation and climate, incredible biodiversity, and spectacular views.
The route begins in a corner of the desert which has some of the world’s richest saguaro stands. These iconic cacti are unique to the Sonoran Desert and a special feature of the AZT.
In the first 14 miles, the trail gains over 6,000 feet of elevation and travels through six different biotic communities: desert scrub, desert grassland, oak woodlands, pine–oak woodlands, pine forests, and mixed-conifer forests. Hundreds of different plant species are supported by this variety of biomes! Like many of the other sky island passages, it is not uncommon to find a snow-covered trail in the higher elevations.
The climb ends at a trail junction just below Mica Mountain, the highest point in the Rincons. From this junction, a short side trip leads to the peak, which would add 0.4-mile to the total distance of this passage.
From here, the trail descends the north side of the Rincons. After a series of switchbacks the trees begin to thin, giving way to sweeping views across a vast and rugged landscape to the east.
Note that Saguaro National Park prohibits dispersed backcountry camping and requires permits and reservations for overnight camping at Grass Shack or Manning Camp in addition to a park entry permit. You must have both permits with you while inside Saguaro National Park, and permit compliance is strictly enforced. Permits are available on recreation.gov . Permits purchased during peak seasons are valid for 14 days at shared sites at Grass Shack and Manning Camp.
NO FIRES are allowed inside Saguaro National Park.
- Moderate to Difficult
- All year. Snow can be present at higher elevations after winter storms and lower elevations can be quite warm in summer
- Current weather forecast
Water can be found seasonally in the following locations: Chimenea Creek, Grass Shack Campground, Madrona Canyon and Italian Spring. Manning Camp usually has water. Check the online Arizona Trail Water Report for current information at https://aztrail.org/explore/water-sources/.
- All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
- Mountain bikes are prohibited in the Rincon Mountain Wilderness.
- Saguaro National Park requires all hikers to obtain an entrance permit as well as a camping permit at designated Campgrounds (Grass Shack and Manning). Dispersed camping is prohibited. Go here to learn more about obtaining your permits.
- Fires are not allowed within Saguaro National Park.
- Map of Passage 9
- USGS Topographic Maps: Tanque Verde Peak, Mica Mountain and Piety Hill.
- Saguaro National Park map.
- Rincon Mountain Wilderness map.
- Coronado National Forest map.
For more information
- The Passage Steward
- Saguaro National Park, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ 85730 (520) 733-5142.
- Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Ranger District, 5700 N. Sabino Canyon Rd., Tucson, AZ 85715 (520) 749-8700.